6 Comments

Where would Jesus shop?

I have always felt pretty comfortable hearing talks about the love of money being the root of all evil. I don’t want to give the idea that my family lives in poverty but we are certainly not wealthy and in my chosen field that is unlikely to change! So I have felt fairly sanctimonious when this topic comes up. But God got my attention through a Canadian Tire flyer which found its way to me. I skipped over the high ticket items but the little relatively inexpensive gadgets caught my eye. It dawned on me that I needed these things! Of course I do not really need more gadgets. I probably should find good homes for the ones I have. In that brief moment I saw my heart in a whole new way. No longer could I smugly look on while others dealt with issues of avarice or acquisitiveness. I had a lower budget version of the same issues.

In the Parable of the Loving Father, the young son in his opening dialogue illustrates this same vice. He says “Give me my inheritance” later in the story his older brother demonstrates this same attitude as he says to his father “You never gave me…” It was only as the younger one changed from a father “give me” attitude to a father “make me” one, that things changed.

My poor attitude and that of the two sons in Jesus’ parable is rampant in the west and it is not at all missing in the western church. Jesus spoke a lot about the use of our money and we say “Yes, Lord” but do not heed his admonitions to treasure Him and His Kingdom first. In many places, in fact the church teaches that we ought to be financially blessed and if we are not there is something deficient about our faith. This ‘health and prosperity gospel’ is very attractive in the west but it is a perversion of good news to the poor Jesus came to proclaim.

I am convinced that for the gospel to gain credibility again in the west that the Church must stand against this pernicious mindset. But we can only creditably do that if we take the plank from our own eye. I do not pretend to know what this means for you but for me it means I must ask myself some new questions “What would Jesus buy?” and “Where would Jesus shop?”. I need to as additionally “Who is helped by this purchase?”  “Who is harmed?”

I want to be generous and hold things lightly and I want to be a good steward of what God has entrusted to me, whether that is little or much. Like the younger son I want to repent and say “Father make me as one of your servants”

This is a matter of personal integrity and it ought to be an issue of integrity for the Church in the world. Clothed in that kind of integrity we may speak good news to the poor with greater and greater authority.

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6 comments on “Where would Jesus shop?

  1. Reid,
    I totally agree. I’m most challenged by the “who is helped or harmed by this purchase?” I find it has always been so much easier for me to turn a blind eye to the fact that a super cheap item often come with a hidden cost… someone’s unfair wages,inhumane work conditions, or environmental degredation. To allow my faith in Jesus to govern my buying choices continues to be an ongoing challenge for me.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    Anna

  2. Reed I want to thank you for sending the email reminder. I can relate to needing one more gadget. You have made some excellent points also about where was the product made and who did it benefit. Is my purchase (and what I think is a bargain) riding on someone else’s back. I need to be more conscious of The Holy Spirit’s input in my decisions. YBIC Morris

  3. Wow Reed, your canadian tire flyer illustration hits another target with me…and brings some more questions….
    What is enough for a good and faithful servant to live by, while accomplishing the masters goals? What talents and resources will I be able to present back to Him on that day of final accountability in order to hear the “Well done”?

    This hits me directly as a question of stewardship. I believe having money, without a tightfisted insecure heart can be of great benefit in extending Jesus’ love and furthering His work in this needy world. The question remains: “How well am I doing with it?”

  4. I agree Reed. If cash registers would show the TRUE cost of a product, we would leave many on the shelves. This applies not only to our shopping, but to our investments as well. If all Christians started asking banks to offer an ethical portfolio, we could make quite an impact on how the world does business. In my research the only bank suggesting they offer the option of taking something other than profitability into account has been the Credit Union.

  5. Thanks for sharing so honestly, Reed. I too have been caught in that trap of thinking I need the latest gadget when I don’t. My last wrestling match with this lust had to do with wanting an iPod Touch and then an iPhone. Several of my friends had bought the iPod Touch and then upgraded to the iPhone and were having so much fun with them and demonstrating the usefulness of the myriad of “apps”; I wanted one so bad and they were on sale through my phone carrier too! But I just could not justify it before God, He didn’t agree that I needed one. After a couple of weeks I overcame the lust and let it go, and once I had forgotten all about it, a friend generously gave me her iPod Touch – she too was upgrading to an iPhone! I was amazed at the grace of God. He gave me the desire of my heart – well pretty close to it – once I had let go of lusting after it and submitted to His will. And you know, I haven’t used this gadget I so desperately longed for about 2 weeks.

    One of the ways our lust for gadgets harms us all is how much junk ends up in the landfill. There is no recycling facility for electronic gadgets yet, at least in Vancouver. When I moved recently I tried to recycle a couple of portable stereos, a fan and some other electronic things (all of them needed fixing) and could find no one to take them – they only take computer hardware, cell phones, etc. I reluctantly had to send them off to the dump. :o(

    I too endeavor to hold things lightly and to be a good steward – even of the environment. I find that having too many “things” weighs me down. I want to travel light so that I am ready to go wherever God sends me whenever He wants me to go.

    Blessings!

  6. I am impressed by this article. You first comment about not being rich especially due to the proffession you have chosen got me thinking on another note. Why don’t people in Canada realize how rich we are compared to most of the world? We have access via internet, tv, real people etc to other countries to see how much more we have yet still we compare ourselves to each other here. I struggle with the fight of compairson that creeps up when all around me people begin to live at a certain level or buy certain things or I simply have a little extra income. The bigger question for me becomes how do we as a society overcome the individual kingdom narcasistic mentality that prevades our culture. How do we call others do the same? Is gratefulness the beginning?

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